Lovers Who Die With Awareness

Ghazal 9721

Any (mystic) lovers who die with awareness (of God),2 die like (dissolving) sugar3 in the presence of the Beloved.4

(On the Day of) Alast5 they drank from the Water of (Everlasting) Life;6 without doubt, they die in a different manner (than others).

Since they gathered (together) in loverhood (during pre-eternity), they do not die like the (ordinary) crowd7 of people.

With (divine) Grace, they have passed (the station of) the angel. (May it be) far from them that they die like (most of) humanity!

You are bearing the opinion that "lions" also die like "dogs," outside the gate.8

The King of the Spirit runs forth in (giving) welcome,9 when lovers die during (their) travels.

All (of them) become shining like the sun, when they die at the foot of that moon.10

Such lovers, who are the souls of one another,11 all die in (mutual) love of each other.

For all (of them), the Water of Love is (poured) on (their thirsty) livers;12 all (of them) come and die in (the affliction of) the heart.13

All (of them) are like the unique pearl;14 they do not die next to (their) mothers or fathers.15

Lovers open the eye of (vision of) the Unseen;16 (as for) the rest, all (of them) die blind and deaf.

Lovers fly to the region of the heavens; deniers die in the bottom of Hell.

And (as for) those (of them) who have not slept (during) the nights out of fear,17 all (of them) die without fear and without danger.

And (as for) those who were fodder-worshippers here, they were cows and die like donkeys.

And (as for) those who searched for that Sight18 today, they die happy and laughing (tomorrow) amid that Vision.

The King of kings19 places (them) at the side of (His) Grace; they do not die like these (cattle), wretched and (enclosed) in a pen.

And (as for) those who seek (to gain) the (beautiful) character of Mustafa,29 they die like Abu Bakr and 'Umar.21

(May) death and passing away (be) far from them! Yet I spoke this (poem) with the supposition, "if they die."22

--From The Dîwân-é Kabîr (also known as "Kulliyat-é Shams" and "Dîwân-é Shams-é Tabrîz") of Jalaluddin Rumi.

Translated from the Persian by Ibrahim Gamard, 11/11/17 (with gratitude for
A. J. Arberry's 1978 British translation)

Ibrahim Gamard (translation, footnotes, & transliteration)


Notes on the text:

1. Ghazal 972: Compare to: the translation from Persian by William Chittick, "The Sufi Path of Love: The Spiritual Teachings of Rumi," 1983, p. 218.

2die with awareness (of God): means with loving and mystical awareness of God.

3die like (dissolving) sugar: a metaphor for the mystical annihilation of self in transcendant unity.

4in the presence of the Beloved [ma`shûq]: means God, the Most Beloved, the goal of the mystic lover [`âshiq].

5the Day of Alast: means pre-existent time, before the creation, when a primodial covenant was made between God and the souls of all mankind, mentioned in Qur'ân 7:172: "And when your Lord drew forth from the children of Adam, from their loins, their seed, and made them testify concerning themselvs, 'Am I not your Lord [a-lastu bi-rabbi-kum]?' They said, 'But of course! We do testify!'"

6the Water of (Everlasting) Life [âb-é zendagî]: the fountain of youth; a legendary stream that bestows immortality upon those who drink from it. A frequent image in Rumi's poetry, symbolizing eternal spiritual joy.

7crowd [Hashar]: a word-play with "gathered," the same word but with a slightly different meaning; this word also refers to the Resurrection when all souls will be assembled together on the Day of Judgment.

8outside the gate: means that the saints and mystics, who are compared to kingly "lions," die in the "palace" of divine Love. These are contrasted wih "dogs"--those who reject God and religion. In Islamic societies, dogs (as well as pigs) are viewed as unclean and therefore shunned. (However, dogs that hunt or that guard farm animals may be owned--but not as household pets.)

9the King of the Spirit [shâh-é jân] runs forth in (giving) welcome: means God. See Masnavi 1:1824. See the Divine saying [Hadîth al-qudsî] transmitted by the Prophet Muhammad: "He who draws close to Me the span of a hand, I will draw close to him the length of an arm. And whoever draws near to me the length of an arm, I will draw near to him the length of a fathom. And whoever comes to Me walking, I will go to him running."

10the foot of that moon: refers to the mystic master (Shams).

11who are the souls of one another: refers to a mystal state of transcendent unity in which "one soul" is experienced.

12(thirsty) livers [jegar]: the pain of thirst was attributed to the liver.

13(the affiction of) the heart: literally, "the liver." A metaphor of dying of thirst (= yearning) for the Belovd.

14the unique pearl [dor-é yatîm]: means a rare and unique shining pearl.

15next to (their) mothers and fathers: a contrast with another meaning of the word translated as "unique" that means "orphan" [yatîm], related to the root meaning of the word: "alone."

16the eye of (vision of) the Unseen [chashm-é ghayb]: means being able to see Heavenly forms that are hidden to the eyes of most people.

17not slept (during) the nights out of fear: refers to an aspect of love in which the lover fears becoming forgetful of the Beloved (God).

18that Sight, that Vision [naZar]: means a vision of God the Beloved.

19the King of kings [shâhenshâh]: means God.

20Mustafa [muSTafà]: an epithet of the Prophet Muhammad that means the "Chosen."

21Abu Bakr and 'Umar: each was a close companion, and later a sucessor [khalîfa] of the Prophet Muhammad.

22if they die: means that the saints and mystics, the true lovers of God, are so loved and welcomed by God that the words "they die" are not really suitable because, as in the eleventh verse, "they fly." This ghazal may have been inspired by the saying: "The pious friends of God [awliyâ'u 'llâh] do not die [lâ yamût-ûn]; rather, they transfer [yanqulûn] from (this) house to (that) house [dâr]." See Masnavi 3:4612, and surrounding verses: "When aversion (to death) has gone, it is not really death, (but) the appearance of death and a transferring [naqlân-kardan]."


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`âshiqânê ke bâ-khabar mîr-and
pêsh-é ma`shûq chûn shakar mîr-and

az alast âb-é zendagî khwor-and
lâ-jaram shêwa-yé degar mîr-and

chûn-ke dar `âshiqî Hashar kard-and
nê chô în mardom-é Hashar mîr-and

az fereshta goZashta-and ba-luTf
dûr az êshân ke chûn bashar mîr-and

tô gomân mê-bar-î ke shêr-ân nêz
chûn sag-ân az berûn-é dar mîr-and

be-daw-ad shâh-é jân ba-istiqbâl
chûn-ke `ushshâq dar safar mîr-and

hama rôshan shaw-and chûn khworshêd
chûn-ke dar pây-é ân qamar mîr-and

`âshiqânê ke jân-é yak degar-and
hama dar `ishq-é ham-degar mîr-and

hama-râ âb-é `ishq bar jegar-ast
hama ây-and-o dar jegar mîr-and

hama hast-and ham-chô durr-é yatîm
na bar-é mâdar-o pedar mîr-and

`âshiq-ân jânib-é falak parr-and
munkar-ân dar tak-é saqar mîr-and

`âshiq-ân chashm-é ghayb be-g'shây-and
bâqiy-ân jumla kûr-o ar mîr-and

w-ân-ke shab-hâ na-khofta-and ze-bîm
jumla bê-khawf-o bê-khaTar mîr-and

w-ân-ke în jâ `alaf-parast bod-and
gâw bod-and-o ham-chô khar mîr-and

w-ân-ke emrôz ân naZar jost-and
shâd-o khandân dar ân naZar mîr-and

shâhenshâh bar konâr-é luTf nehad
nê chon-în khwâr-o muHtaZar mîr-and

w-ân-ke akhlâq-é muSTafà joy-and
chûn abû bakr-o chûn `umar mîr-and

dûr az êshân fanâ-wo marg wa-lêk
în ba-taqdîr goft-am ar mîr-and

Meter 12: XoXXoXoX ooX
khafîf sâlim makhbûn